We came to the United States in early 2011 and landed in Boston. It was a new place for us, and we had no acquaintance in that area back then. Even now I can’t stop laughing at what happened a few days later. I am not sure if we appeared new to the place to some marketing folks, but i guess one can easily figure out if you have the right experience. On a day while doing groceries, we were approached by a smart looking guy. He asked us ‘Have we met before?’ After hearing this over-used pick-up line, i was utterly confused. I thought is he hitting on me or my wife? But still, i responded with ‘I am not sure,’ in a pleasant tone. Aren’t you Ashok, he asked? I said, sorry, i am Alok. Oh, sorry, i think i am confusing you with somebody else. But he went on with a few related and, this time, broader questions, ‘Do you live in Quincy?’ Yes. Where – Faxon Commons? Yes. Ok, i think i have seen you in the community then! May be, i replied. With a few more pleasantries, he befriended me. We were happy that we have someone to talk to now. He gave me his number and said he will call me sometime.
The very next day, i got a call from him. And very soon he came to the point by asking ‘Does your wife work?’ Saru had not started writing then, so i said ‘No,’ to which he was quick that his wife also is a home maker but she is doing business, may be implying that Saru should also not just sit idle at home. I got a bit excited. What kind of business, i asked? Well, it’s a marketing business, but you don’t have to sell anything. And you can earn a lot of money in quick time. Let’s catch up sometime and i can explain, he said…seems he was pulling the right strings. We did not have a car then, so I said it is going to be a problem for us. He said, he and his wife can plan to come by to our place and we agreed. But by then i was sensing something fishy.
Next day in my Office, i asked a few of my colleagues, if i did the right thing. Then i came to know that the business the guy was talking about is nothing but Marketing for some products. They would like you to become a connection in their network, and the trick he followed is pretty common in US. What happened next? I never picked up a call from him again. Did he bother? I don’t think so. Being an MBA, I know you need to be shameless while Marketing. But i guess, i can take a leaf out of that episode and learn how to be approachable, while not being pushy.
Over the last 4 years, we have met quite a few such gentlemen, and even ladies, just caring for their numbers. Some even claimed they were running a business and labeled it as Consulting, as in real Consulting! If you give them a hint that you are in some way interested, you are getting into a trap. If you are smart enough to realize what is going on, you can deal accordingly.
I would specifically mention that we don’t have an issue with them at all, unless they are willing to become friends first. Alas, they need to work on their Marketing tactics!